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Ospreys vs Leinster Rugby
Liberty Stadium, Swansea
Saturday 18th September 2009

Kick-off 19:05
Television: Live Setanta Ireland, BBC 2 Wales

Leinster travel to Swansea this Friday, after a disrupted week in which fourteen of the squad were away at an Ireland Training camp. It was hardly ideal preparation for what is always a tough away trip. The Ospreys will be smarting from last week's shock home defeat to Ulster. Their own supporters booed them off the pitch so they will be desperate to avoid two home defeats in a row. Leinster haven't lost to the Ospreys for the last two seasons, although it must be said, they never played each other at full strength in this time due to various reasons.

After their opening day defeat to Llanelli, Leinster got off the mark last week with a somewhat scrappy win over the Dragons. It was a typical early season Leinster game with the good mixed with the bad. The Dragon's niggly tactics at the breakdown managed to frustrate Leinster for long periods, but they did enough to get the win. Mike Ross made a very impressive first start in the scrum and Sean O'Brien enjoyed his first Leinster start at number eight. Shane Horgan and Isa Nacewa both continued their recent good form and Eoin Reddan and Gordon D'Arcy also looked sharp when they came on.

For Leinster there are five changes to the team that started last week. There are two changes in the backline as D'Arcy and Reddan make their first starts of the season replacing Fergus McFadden and Chris Keane. This means David Kearney gets another shot on the left wing after an impressive full debut last week.

In the pack, three of the front five is rotated with Malcolm O'Kelly, Nathan Hines and Stan Wright coming in for Devin Toner, Leo Cullen and Mike Ross respectively. Shane Jennings captains the team in Cullen's absence, in a backrow that's unchanged after impressing against the Dragons last week. Leinster have yet to finalise their bench but Bernard Jackman will hopefully be fit enough to take his place there.

The Ospreys have named a very strong looking team with five of their Lions in the twenty-two. Two of them, Lee Byrne and Ireland's Tommy Bowe make up a very impressive back-three with the in-form Nikki Walker. James Hook partners James Nutbrown at half-back with Lions Mike Philips and Alun-Wyn Jones on the bench.

In the pack the big news is that captain Ryan Jones is out with sore ribs. Tom Smith takes his place at number eight alongside new signing Jerry Collins and Marty Holah, who captains the team in Jones's absence. Like Leinster, it's all change in the front five as only Ian Gough retains his place from the last day. He partners Jonathan Thomas in the second row, who makes his first start in seven months.

It's a strong line-up for the Ospreys, with plenty of strength to come in from the bench too. Ulster certainly didn't do Leinster any favours last week by winning, as they'll certainly come out firing looking for redemption. Leinster will need their defense to be back to top form, especially with the dangerous runners they possess out wide. They'll need Jonny Sexton to continue with his excellent place-kicking form and also to be more ruthless with the chances they create out wide.

It's a big ask for Leinster and they'll have to up their performance from what they've produced so far, but if they can then they have enough to nick a win.

Team Lineups

Ospreys
Leinster Rugby
Teams Lee Byrne
15 Isa Nacewa
Tommy Bowe
14 Shane Horgan
Jonathan Spratt
13 Gordon D'Arcy
Andrew Bishop
12 Shaun Berne
Nikki Walker
11 David Kearney
James Hook
10 Jonathan Sexton
Jamie Nutbrown
9 Eoin Reddan

Duncan Jones
1 Cian Healy
Huw Bennett
2 John Fogarty
Craig Mitchell
3 Stan Wright
Ian Gough
4 Nathan Hines
Jonathan Thomas
5 Malcolm O'Kelly
Jerry Collins
6 Kevin McLaughlin
Marty Holah (C)
7 Shane Jennings (C)
Tom Smith
8 Sean O'Brien

Replacements Richard Hibbard
16 Seven From:
Bernard Jackman
Mike Ross
Leo Cullen
Devin Toner
Stephen Keogh
Chris Keane
Fergus McFadden
Simon Keogh
Paul James
17
Alun-Wyn Jones
18
Filo Tiatia
19
Mike Phillips
20
Dan Biggar
21
Gareth Owen
22

Not Considered
due to Injury


Eoin O'Malley,
CJ van der Linde,
Trevor Hogan,
Girvan Dempsey
Officials Referee: Peter Allan (SRU)
Assistant Referees: Tim Hayes (WRU), Alan Jenkins (WRU)
TMO: Tony Rowlands (WRU)

by Jim O'Connor, © 2009-09-25

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